Selling techniques are, essentially, communication strategies employed by a business to help secure the interest and loyalty of consumers. In many cases, selling techniques work slowly as businesses establish a reputation with a target market and reinforce it with advertisements and product offerings. In other cases, specific techniques are used to try to move consumers from a point of indecision to a point of making a purchase. Learning about some of the common types of selling techniques is important for business owners and salespeople looking to build revenue.
Many selling techniques rely on reciprocity to develop a relationship and inspire a purchase. Reciprocity works by offering something of value to the consumer, having them accept it and suggesting they make a purchase to reciprocate. Consumers often feel obligated to make good on a feeling of indebtedness, and sometimes make a purchase to "balance out" the exchange. Specific techniques that employ reciprocity vary. Some businesses offer a gift or to make a charitable donation with every purchase, while others might offer consumers a free sample of a product. Some marketers send gifts or samples in the mail with advertising materials.
Scarcity is often used within different selling techniques. Sales pitches based on scarcity suggest time and resource limitations that inspire in shoppers a fear of missing an opportunity. This fear – that a good opportunity might pass them by – motivates a purchase. Several specific techniques employ scarcity. For example, businesses often advertise a price or a product "for a limited time." An online auction might highlight the remaining inventory, implying that stocks will soon run out. In other situations, a marketer emphasizes the exclusivity of the product.
Developing a powerful, specific brand is critical to a range of selling techniques. Branding is the process of establishing a particular image for the company with consumers, sometimes taking on human characteristics, such as appearing caring, elite or authoritative. Brands work by building a positive image of the company in a target consumer's mind and encouraging the consumer to identify as a purchaser of the specific brand. Sales methods include differentiation, or positioning and focusing the brand as apart from other brands; segmentation, or targeting different types of consumers with different branding messages; and upselling, or capitalizing on brand loyalty to inspire further purchases.
When contemplating a purchase, consumers often raise and review objections to the product. The nature and type of objections vary. It's usually in the interest of marketers to directly engage and work around objections, if for no other reason than it keeps the customer engaged in a sales pitch. The longer a customer persists with objections, the more likely they are to have them overcome – if the salesperson listens and can effectively relay product benefits and features to address the concerns.
- Neuromarketing; Selling with Scarcity; Roger Dooley; 2009
- BusinessLife; Brand Power: Narrow Your Focus for Greater Strength; Michael Cooney; 2011
- "Entrepreneur"; The Downside of Price Reductions; Barbara Findlay Schenck; 2010
- "Entrepreneur"; How to Push Prospects 'Off the Fence'; Mark Stevens; 2010
- "Entrepreneur"; Objections Are Not Your Enemy; Charles Green; 2010
- "Influence: Psychology of Persuasion"; Robert Cialdini; 1998
- Photo Credit Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images
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